Blackjack sure seems simple enough to play, right? Just take cards until you get pretty close to 21, and then don’t take anymore cards. Well, if you don’t come to the blackjack table with knowledge of how to apply the basic strategy and understanding of your odds against the house, then you are cooked before you even begin.
Blackjack is still a game where the house has an advantage that starts around 8%. The first and most important thing to do is to apply the charts that are called the “basic blackjack strategy” in order to decrease those odds to nearly 0.5%. Card counting is not illegal, but casinos will kick you out very quickly when they suspect you doing it. That is because effective card counting techniques take the advantage out of the casino’s hands and put it in the player’s.
The “basic blackjack strategy” offers a comprehensive chart to tell you when to hit, stay, split and double down. All of those directives are based on the probabilities of busting on a hit. You may remember the dealer will generally hit on a total below 17. If you hit on a 12 total, your chance of busting is at a measly 31%. Once you have a 16, your chance of busting grows to 62%; a total of 17 grows to 69% chance of a bust. Of course, your chance of hitting on a total over 17 increases drastically and that is why the house doesn’t do it.
If you do the math you will find that the odds of getting a “natural”, or a blackjack on the first two cards dealt, are only at 4.8%. The most common two-card hand you will be dealt total 1-16 and require you to make a decision to hit or not. So once you know your odds, you understand how vital it is to go back to that basic strategy chart to help make those tough decisions.
The fact is, that even with a great strategy, you will lose sometimes. Having a solid strategy that you stick to is the best way to boost your blackjack odds. Learn some simple systems to count cards and you can turn the odds on their head and take advantage over the house.